They call it “American cookery” and not “cuisine.” Why? The chef’s intentional and inviting comfortability in every bite and in every square foot. It’s a key phrase when describing Chow – a well-known and beloved restaurant with a new home in San Ramon bringing comfort food classics and cozy charm back to the Bay Area after a three-year hiatus.
The 6,900-plus-sq.-ft. restaurant with an open space dining room, eccentric brightly lit bar and fresh to-go market is now inside of City Center at Bishop Ranch. This comes after Chow’s doors were closed in 2019 after 20 years of serving the Bay Area in multiple locations and cities.
The new space is renovated and re-invented by Chef Tony Gulisano and his team. Though re-opening, the environment and atmosphere still remains a constant in this – it’s a comfortable place where people can quickly grab and go, or comfortably sit and relax being served upscale comfort foods for the most simple, complex and modern of eaters.
The crowds? Thrilled to have this comfort-food dining experience back in the East Bay after its almost three-year hiatus. Overhearing those eating on a Saturday night, you hear talks about fond memories their families had eating at Chow San Ramon for birthdays, bridal showers and brunches.
The atmosphere is open so you can hear the stirring of excitement, but still enjoy conversations of the guests around you. The décor is modern and vibrant with a 60’s mod flare, decorated with white chairs, overhead circular sphere lighting and large trees planted firmly in the dining room. It’s a place that Chef Gulisano says he designed to be social and celebratory. “I want it to be full of fun and laughter, with accessible, inviting food, a lively bar and a great little market,” he says.
The large yet cozy space gets its comfortability not just from its atmosphere, but its food. Let’s divulge the most important plates that are a must to try on Chow San Ramon’s menu.
To start, the salad menu is robust with six salad options. Of course, there are the classics such as Caesar, garden, wedge and cobb. To spice things up, Chef also offers a grilled raw Louie and Thai chicken salad.
When it comes to appetizers, or what Chow San Ramon calls “snacks,” there are a with a wide variety of classic dishes including tomato toast served with mozzarella and olives, tuna poke, arancini, bistro mussels served in a white bone broth, and organic beef meatballs served with a large piece of garlic toast.
For the main dishes, choose between a pasta menu or freshly grilled plates. The Thai noodles are served in a chili-ginger broth with both chicken and beef, making even the most spice-loving person sweat from its sharp, flavorful spices – a sweat that’s enjoyable, that is.
Before it gets too cold out this season, the grilled halibut is fantastic and a must -try. The dish comes with a grilled halibut filet served with a medley of vegetables and potatoes. Light enough to be a perfect summer dish but hearty enough to be filling.
On the heavier side, the classic grilled bistro steak frites comes seasoned to perfection with a side of arugula and a plate of freshly cut French fries–both fresh without any added oils.
The bar has an extensive beer, wine and sparkling wine list with local, state and international flavors. Considering how family friendly Chow is, there is a full kid’s menu offering a quesadilla, mac and cheese, organic chicken fingers and an organic cheeseburger.
Chow San Ramon is open Sunday to Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Friday, 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
To learn more, visit www.chowfoodbar.com.